OCHA: 971,361 displaced in Lebanon, including 16,000 Palestinian refugees

The aftermatn of an Israeli air force attack over Al-Beka’ near Ba’labak, southern Beirut, 9 August 2006. (MaanImages/Raoul Kramer)

The following information appeared in the report entitled “Lebanon response OCHA situation report No. 19”

Key Developments

Humanitarian convoys heading south

WFP and UNFPA trucks left for Nabatiye and Saida today with IDF concurrence. Nabatiye is the closest distribution location for the inaccessible populations south of the Litani River. However, concurrence was not received, for the fifth consecutive day, for humanitarian convoys to Tyre and south of the city.

UN to expand presence outside Beirut, Tyre

The UN intends to open inter-agency hubs in Saida and Zahle in addition to coordination centers in the capital and Tyre. A small UN team is now in Saida to start implementing this plan. Zahle will open in the next few days. All major north-south supply lines remain interrupted north of Tyre, which de facto isolates the south of Lebanon from the rest of the country. UNIFIL reports that the damage to road and bridges infrastructure increases daily.

Infrastructure damage estimated at two billion USD

The GoL estimates damage and destruction of housing, industry, power and utilities due to the last month’s hostilities has now reached US$ 2 billion.

Situation Overview

1. According to the Government of Lebanon (GoL) Higher Relief Committee (HRC) the number of casualties now stands at 1,056 people killed. It estimates that some 971,361 Lebanese have been displaced, inside and outside the country.

2. Protection, access and security remain the foremost issues of concern. UNICEF warned in a press statement released yesterday that thousands of families and children critically need support, but at present it is unable to reach the majority of them. ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger also criticized the ‘little consideration given to [civilians’] protection’ by the warring parties.

3. UNRWA estimates that some 16,000 Palestinian refugees have been displaced by the conflict and an additional 5,500 Lebanese IDPs have moved into Palestinian camps. After drops of warning leaflets on the Burj Barajneh camp in southern Beirut, around a third of the camp population - up to 3,000 people - evacuated the camp yesterday evening.

4. The UN currently has 187 international civilian staff in Lebanon. Until today, only limited UN deployment south of the Litani River has taken place.

5. The fuel crisis may be eased soon - negotiations to bring fuel into Lebanon from the two tankers currently in open waters are nearing completion.

6. Four mortar rounds impacted directly inside a UNIFIL position in the area of Deir Mimess on 10 August, causing extensive material damage, and destroying a fuel storage tank, but with no casualties.

7. This morning unidentified gunmen fired at an armored personnel carrier (APC) of UNIFIL. Nobody was injured in the incident and the vehicle sustained only minor damage. A convoy passing the same area later in the day was not attacked.

8. UNIFIL’s freedom of movement and the ability to re-supply positions and provide humanitarian assistance continues to be impaired due to the lack of security clearance from the IDF and due to the intense hostilities in the area.

9. Many national and international NGOs are responding to the Lebanon crisis, particularly those under the two umbrella groups Collective of NGOs and the Forum of NGOs. Coordination efforts are improved with representatives of these two groups now participating in the Humanitarian Coordination Clusters.

Humanitarian Response


10. For the fifth consecutive day, concurrence was not received for humanitarian convoys to Tyre or south of the city. Concurrence was instead received today for convoys from Beirut to Aarida (collection of cargo and in/out movement of staff), Saida (cargo), Nabatiyeh (cargo and road assessment), Tripoli (road assessment and cargo) and Baalbek (cargo and road assessment).
11. UNIFIL will use the French ship Sirocco to evacuate up to 18 Third Country Nationals stranded in villages near Naqoura today.
12. The Health cluster has now set up sub-groups on Health Systems, Mental health, Nutrition, Reproductive Health, and Health Information management: Health cluster meetings are taking place twice a week in Beirut.
13. The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), WHO and UNICEF measles and polio vaccination campaign is being expanded, to cover a total of 100,000 children in Beirut (originally it was aimed at some 65,000 children); vitamin A is also being given to boost vulnerable immune systems.
14. A rapid assessment is currently being undertaken by UNFPA in Beirut/greater Beirut IDP sites of the needs and issues affecting pregnant and lactating women. This will clarify the number of pregnant women in IDP sites and problems related to supplement deficiency (i.e. iron, folic acid, etc), and RTI symptoms.
15. Syria: the latest figures for the Ministry of Health campaign vaccination coverage up to 9 August are: OPV coverage of under 5s (97.4%); MMR coverage of 10-59 months (85.6%); Meningitis coverage of 24-59 months (88.7%)’ Measles coverage of 6-15 years (86.2%).
16. UNRWA has so far provided assistance to around 80,000 people, both Palestinian and Lebanese. With the assistance of other UN agencies, this has included food and water and non-food items like bedding, kitchen and hygiene kits and medicines to the displaced. Food aid is also being provided to non-displaced Palestinian refugees across the country, many of whom were living in extreme poverty before the start of the conflict and are especially vulnerable to the current economic shocks.

Shelter/Non Food Items

17. UNHCR has distributed non-food items (NFIs) to over 25,000 displaced persons in Lebanon and Syria. Over 730 metric tons of NFIs have been delivered to Damascus from Amman to replenish stocks for Lebanon and Syria.
18. A total of 116 tons of UNHCR supplies flown in to Larnaca on three flights today will be transferred to a UN ship bound for Beirut on Sunday. An additional 71 tons of emergency supplies (tents, mattresses, jerry cans, cooking stoves and hurricane lanterns) were flown to Beirut from Amman, by the Royal Jordanian Airforce . Some 8,400 mattresses, 30,000 blankets, 15,000 jerry cans, 1,00 plastic rolls, 3,000 kitchen sets and five delivery trucks were set to leave for Lebanon via the ports of Marseilles and Mersin today.

Water and Sanitation

19. Hygiene kits have been distributed to 3,340 families in IDP centers and conflict zones - in Saida, Zahle, and Baalbek, reaching some 21,000 beneficiaries altogether. The convoy bound for Nabatiyeh today should deliver UNFPA kits serving around 7,000 persons in the worst-affected villages and towns in South Lebanon.
20. Additional kits are being distributed through NGOs such as Mercy Malaysia, IMC, and IOCC Lebanon, which are covering areas in northern Lebanon and the Beirut suburbs. More kits have been procured and should be distributed within the next two weeks to IDP communities.
21. Syria: Key water and sanitation (WES) data from recent site assessments reports the following: water from the public network is available in 81% of sites; personal hygiene supplies were available in 89% of sites; Garbage collection and disposal system is operational in 91% of POC shelter sites.
22. Syria: longer term response plans in this sector include rehabilitation of sanitation facilities, installation of water heaters, and water trucking in the event of any shortages, reports UNICEF.
23. An action plan is being developed to deal with protection of women. Some 30 national and international partners are working with the Ministry of Social Affairs and UNFPA to address cases of gender-based violence (GBV) among IDPs. Preventive measures, awareness-raising, and training of service providers are needed to ensure availability of services to vulnerable groups and victims of violence.


Flash Appeal

24. OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS) today reports that the US $154 million Flash Appeal for Lebanon is now 46% funded. Contributions of more than US $76. million have been committed. Uncommitted pledges amount to an additional US $12.5 million.

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